Dollar General may be coming to Townshend despite ‘clearly biased’ opponents

This article by Bob Audette originally appeared May 21 in the Brattleboro Reformer.

TOWNSHEND — There’s not much support for a proposed Dollar General on Route 30, but there’s also the knowledge that area residents might not be able to stop it from coming to town.

On Thursday night at 6 p.m., members of Save the Scenic Corridor, an ad hoc group formed in response to the proposed store, will host a community meeting at the Townshend Town Hall to present survey results and discuss what the options are in response to the plan.

Wikimedia Commons/Random Retail

Dollar General’s success in Vermont is viewed as “painful” by members of Save the Scenic Corridor.

“Even in towns with zoning, Dollar General has been painfully successful,” said Terry Davison Berger, a member of the group. She told the Reformer she and the other members “are clearly biased” in their opposition to Dollar General, “But we want to give everyone an opportunity to express their opinions.”

All community members are welcome, including residents of Townshend, Jamaica, Newfane, Wardsboro, Athens, Windham and Brookline.

In April, Angela Petkovic, a spokeswoman for Dollar General, told the Reformer it is “in due diligence” for a new store in Townshend. “This means we are reviewing the opportunity to add a new store in the area, but we have not committed to doing so just yet,” she said.

According to a project review sheet filed with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources Board, Zaremba Group, the development firm that has built Dollar General outlets in New Hampshire and Vermont, is eying the lot on which Lawrence’s Smoke Shop & Country Store is currently located. The smoke shop is owned by Henry “Kit” Martin and operated by Terri Bills Garland.

The building would be demolished and a new structure would be built on the 0.8-acre lot. Dollar General expects to finalize its decision by the fall.

“When choosing store locations, meeting customers’ needs is Dollar General’s top priority,” Petkovic said. “The company looks for places where we can offer customers an easy and convenient shopping choice.”

Because Townshend doesn’t have zoning regulations, there is nothing the town can do in regulating the construction of the building. And because the lot is less than one acre, the project doesn’t require an Act 250 permit from the state of Vermont.

Read full story at the Brattleboro Reformer.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Random Retail